Question of the Month:
I really want to lose weight this year and I have a simple question. How many calories do I need to consume to lose weight?
This does sound like a simple question, but there are many variables that determine the number of calories an individual should consume. For instance, the USDA suggests that a 27 year old male consume between 2,400 and 3,000 calories per day, and a female of the same age should consume between 1,800 and 2,400 calories. These are basic guidelines that are easy enough to find, but they do not take into consideration individual characteristics and may not be correct for you. An individual’s age, gender, activity level, resting metabolic rate and goals should all be considered to accurately determine the number of calories needed.
There are two sides to this equation and manipulating either one can make you gain or lose weight. The first is the intake side, or the number of calories you consume through eating and drinking. The second is the expenditure side, which is the number of calories you expend through resting metabolism, activities of daily living and exercise.
The intake side is fairly simple to understand. Consume more calories than you expend, and you gain weight. Consume fewer calories than you expend, and you lose weight. Expenditure is a little more difficult to understand and predict. How our bodies expend energy is vastly different for each individual. We each have our own resting metabolic rate. The body’s resting metabolic rate is the rate at which our bodies expend energy at rest. Simply add your caloric expenditure due to activities of daily living and exercise, and voila you have your total daily caloric expenditure, right? Determining caloric intake to lose weight is not as simple as it seems.
In order to accurately determine your calorie intake for a specific goal like losing weight, you need to take a personal inventory. Speak with a trainer about ways to determine your resting metabolic rate. Also, have him/her determine your daily activity level and the number of calories you expend per day. This will help you understand your nutritional needs and put you on a good path to achieving your weight loss goals. Best of Luck!
About the author: Anthony G. Barnes is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Chester and holds a degree in sports medicine and exercise science. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org